Southampton's got art!


Whether you’re an art lover, an aspiring artist, or just want to get out for some fresh air and explore the city, Southampton boasts quite the outdoor art scene. With several public art works dotted around the city, why not spend an hour – or two – with friends and family discovering them.

Southampton Central Station mural

The Central Station mural adds a striking burst of colour to the South side of the area, extending a warm welcome to all arriving into city. Designed by local artist Poppy Ash and brought to life by muralist Callum Young, the mural showcases the city’s vibrant culture with references to the local history, markets, greenspaces and thriving cruise industry. Learn more here.

Colourful Southampton Central train station mural

BENCH

The BENCH project launched during lockdown to bring to life the precinct on Above Bar Street and to support local artists. When walking through the area, you'll find 16 individually designed benches along the precinct. Why not sit for a while and watch the world go by?

BENCH was made possible through the collaboration between GO! Southampton and Solent Showcase Gallery (Solent University). Read more about BENCH here.

Colourful bench with pigeons painted on it for Southampton Got Art

Multi-Stories

This next location is probably a place most wouldn't think to look for art - a multi-story carpark! On levels 7, 8, 9 and 10 or Westquay's carpark, you'll be greeted by a diverse series of colourful murals covering almost all of the walls and pillars on the floor. Works can be seen from talents such as Ricky AlsoSquirl, Bonzai, and other well-known and budding artists. With over 30 murals to discover, there is lots to see.

The works were all originally live painted during a two-day art, music and skateboarding event held in September 2023 organised by Westquay and Southampton Forward to celebrate and showcase Southampton communities. To see more of the works and to learn more about this project click here.

Freshly painted mural of big butterfly with pink orange and purple coloured wings on black background displayed in Westquays Multi Story carpark

The World is Yours

The World is Yours large scale wall mural on the external portion of Westquays multi story car park

Also part of Westquay's and Southampton Forward's Multi-Stories event saw the creation of the The World is Yours - a large mural painted on the external wall of the shopping centre's carpark. The mural was created in collaboration with Squirl and Southampton artists Bonzai and Ricky Also.

Small Faces

As you continue making your way down Above Bar Street towards the Marlands Shopping Centre, you may have noticed several flags strung up across the street displaying faces, each in their own distinct and unique styles. The cross-street flags, titled ‘Small Faces’ were originally part of a wider, experimental art exhibit organised by Southampton Solent University

The project materialised after Southampton Solent University met with Gillian McIntyre, Adult Programme Co-ordinator and Kate Maple, Curator from Canada's Art Gallery of Ontario, where they discussed ways to dissolve barriers to engagement with art exhibits.

The Small Faces allowed Solent Showcase Gallery to take a big leap in becoming a participatory, socially engaged gallery. The exhibit was open to any and everyone who wished to create and guarantied that all pieces submitted would be exhibited. The project received an extraordinary 7,000 submissions of all walks of life. Discover the full story here.

Cross Street flags for Southampton Got Art

Big Belly Bins

In 2022, Southampton’s big belly bins received a city centre wide makeover following the success of the city's BENCH project. Thirteen designs by local artists were selected to be featured on the side of Southampton's smart bins, opening up the public realm once again for art to thrive. 

Artists were asked to focus on a variety of areas, including Southampton’s Old Town, Cultural Quarter, Above Bar Street and city heritage. Designs feature many of the city's historic landmarks and buildings such as the Southampton Cenotaph, Mayflower Theatre, and green spaces such as East Park. Can you find them all? 

Colourful Big Belly Bins as part of a Southampton Art Project

Westquay Murals

It is elno_arts’s belief that art has power and can bring change to the community, the impact it can have on society, and the life it can ignite within individuals. These personal and community expressions show incredible love, enthusiasm and inclusion through art, which can be enjoyed and experienced by all. 

One of elno_arts's pieces can be found on Westquay's external walls, as you make your way to Cosmo, along with several other artists including My Dog Sighs, Ricky Also and Samo White. Discover their stories and their work here. Is there any mural that stands out to you the most? 

There are lots of murals in the city to be found, tag us on our Visit Southampton socials to share some of your favourites!

Colourful mural with person for Southampton Got Art

Birds, Boats and Buildings

Westquay mural for Southampton Got Art

Plus, whilst you’re in Westquay, don’t forget to check out the 14-metre-long Kev Munday mural brightening up your journey to the toilets on Level 3, titled 'Birds, Boats and Buildings'.

Ebony Rockers

Over at the Marlands Shopping Centre, you will find a large-scale photo-realist mural depicting local 70s band the Ebony Rockers, who hit the music scene in 1979. The impressive wall mural was painted by local artist, Slam Daniels, as part of GO! Southampton, Solent Showcase Gallery, The Marlands Shopping Centre, and Don John, founder of Black History Month in Southampton, project to celebrate the culture and diversity of the city, and specifically the impact the Ebony Rockers has had on Southampton. Find out more here.

Ebony Rockers art on building façade

The Bulb

The Bulb, also known as Frobisher House, features the largest clean air mural in the UK, spanning over 1,000 square metres. The design which uses CO2 absorption paint is said to be able to absorb up to 65 kilograms of CO2 emissions per year. The colourful mural was chosen by the public through an online poll out of three designs created by French street artist Nerone. Did your favourite design get selected? You can learn more about The Bulb here.

Giant colourful mural called "The Bulb" on Frobisher House

Winkle Street Faces

Some walls really do have eyes, more specifically, Southampton's Winkle Street! As you walk around the city's Old Town, you may have found yourself wondering down Winkle Street, which runs behind Platform Tavern. Several small face sculptures can be seen dotted around the street's walls, sporting different expressions and colours. How many small face sculptures you can find?

The unique pieces were created by urban artist J_Ace, who has works placed in locations around the world including India, Paris, South Africa and Canada. If you're on a hunt to find them all, you'll want to also stop by God House Tower’s to try and find J_Ace’s golden 500th face. 

Southampton Got Art smiley face artwork on a brick wall

K6 Gallery

Two red telephone boxes

As you approach Westquay, travelling up through Castle Way, you may have spotted two bright red telephone boxes as you pass by. But, these are no ordinary telephone boxes but the location of K6 Gallery, a permanent exhibition space which often showcases works by local and national creatives.

The two telephone boxes are led by volunteers since it's inception in 2015. Next time you are passing by, make sure to take a peek inside to see what's on display. Find out the latest here.

Courtyard Constellation

‘Courtyard Constellations’ is a colourful tiled courtyard commissioned by a space arts and Tiger Developments in honour of the site's stary skyed past. At the site of Southampton Crossings in Cumberland Place, now a local accommodation building for students, once stood an astronomical observatory. The courtyard is made up of over 1200 beautifully hand casted pieces, 11 of which are coloured to each represent a specific constellation.

The piece was created by Denman+Gould. Learn more about Courtyard Constellations here.

Photo credit: a space arts

Courtyard Constellation Aspacearts

Hamtun street mural

Hamtun Street Mural 2023

Made out of 37 concrete and glass mosaic panels, the Hamtun Street Mural depicts key landmarks and historic events to celebrate the city’s diverse heritage. These colourful panels stretch across an impressive 19 meters and measures 3 meters tall. The piece was crafted by two talented artists Henry and Joyce Collins in 1978. The mural was originally displayed on the front of the Sainsbury's supermarket in Lordshill but was removed during store renovations. After 20 years in storage, the mural was restored and displayed once again in 2011 after being restored by ceramic artist Oliver Budd in 2011.

Southampton Mural 2013

Southampton mural on a brick wall

Crafted by artist Joanna Dewfall, the vibrant Southampton Mural 2013 captures the essence of the city's past and present. This colorful mural is adorned with a variety of imagery, each holding special significance to Southampton. From an anchor symbolizing the city's rich maritime heritage to a red and white scarf crowned with a halo, paying tribute to The Saints, the city's football club. The mural graces Castle Way, offering a striking visual narrative of Southampton's identity.

Defenders of the East Gate

Defenders of the East Gate, a relief which can be found in the bricks of the social housing development by Orchard Homes, was created by Southampton based artists Chris Cudlip. The impressive piece commissioned by  a space arts depicts two medieval blacksmiths and several contemporary instruments, representing the rich past and present history of the area. The site was the former home of the old medieval wall and Eastern gateway to the town between 1200 – 1765 and in recent years, the former alternative nightclub known as Nexus. Discover the full story here.

Photo credit: Kate Aries

Defenders of the East Gate sculpture on a brick wall

Fruit Market

In the city’s Old Town, off of Queensway and Barnard Street, lies a modern apartment building. What many may not know is that the site was formerly known as Southampton’s old Fruit Market: a popular post-war spot for wholesale foods. Before developers took on the project to convert the once bustling site, a space arts was approached to create a public art piece that would represent the site's rich past.

A space worked with Dan Rawlings who designed the steel installation, ‘Fruit Market’, as seen today. The public artwork retraces the former town wall which references the site’s location along Back of the Walls. You can learn more about the piece here or discover more about the former fruit market’s history here.

Photo credit: Simon Griggs

Metal sculpture for Aspace Arts outside a block of flats

Child of Family

Child of Family sculpture, Southampton in the sunshine

As you walk past ASDA and make your way towards Southampton's train station, you may have noticed three abstract figures standing at the top of Kingsbridge Lane. The tall metal figures depict a man, woman, and child which were created by American artist Danny Lane. The sculpture was named ‘Child of Family’ and was commissioned by Southampton City Council and British Rail Hampshire as part of the city’s environmental improvements in the area.

Mr Mosaic

Mosaic of Mr Bounce

From Nemo to iconic superheroes, you’ll find small mosaic art pieces scattered around the city beloved by all. One of the most popular pieces in the series of colourful mosaics are recreations of the mr men and little miss book covers. These joyful tiled pieces were handcrafted by local artist Will Rosie, well known by the name Mr Mosaic.

Next time you're out for some shopping or an evening meal, make sure to keep your eyes peeled to see if you can spot any. If you're keen to find them all, you can head over to the artist's official Mosaic Map for the most up-to-date locations of his works.

Head out on your own art trail with GO! Jauntly

If you are interested in visiting a few pieces, GO! Jauntly, a free walking app, offers a Southampton Public Art trail which was created by MyJourney. The trail guides art enthusiasts around the city, exploring a variety of local sculptures and murals, starting off at Southampton Central Station in the heart of the city. So, if you have two hours to spare, download the app here and get walking!

Steel archway in Southampton park
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